‘It Was Like Marriage, Only Better’ Said the Single Mothers Who Moved In Together
After their relationships broke down, Jane Hoggarth and two other mothers decided to get together and create a ‘mommune’
…And so, more by accident than design, the women hit on a new domestic set-up: the “mommune”, as it is termed in America.
And for the next two years, the three of them and their six children shared their lives: Vicky in the spare room, Nicola a weekend resident and daily visitor. “We were a family,” Janet says. “We went to the supermarket together, cooked together, ate together, shared childcare. Our parents met.” The children, she adds, “became like siblings”.
“The mum house saved me,” Janet says today, seven years on. “It wasn’t a grand plan, it just seemed a practical solution. We instantly stopped feeling so broken.”
The impact of living with people who understood what she was experiencing was profound for Janet. When Janet and her husband split after 11 years together, her social life died with the relationship.
However hard the couple tried to share access and discourage side-taking, the situation was awkward. “If I went to something, friends were always with their partners and there I was, on my own, with the children. If anyone saw my ex with his new partner, they felt they couldn’t tell me.”
In the shared house, “We all knew what the others were going through without having to explain. We shared the pain. We could be as mad as we liked,” Janet says. “If you can’t express those feelings to someone, then they are just echoing back in your face all the time.”
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